Another year allowance freeze for Worthing and Adur councils

A FURTHER 12-month freeze on members’ basic allowances is being recommended to Worthing and Adur councils.

The recommendation comes from an independent remuneration panel, which urges greater “harmonisation” of the level of allowances payable to Worthing and Adur councillors.

It says the freeze should apply from May this year and be part of the harmonisation programme “over the next year or two”.

The present basic allowance for Worthing members is £3,897 a year, 31 per cent higher than Adur’s £2,970.

In its report, the panel says: “It can be argued that the average weight of responsibility for Worthing councillors is greater.

The panel continues that the apparent difference in weight of responsibility does not justify the 31 per cent difference in allowances.

“Equally, there is an argument that, until there is a reduction in the number of councillors in Adur, or other changes that result in greater parity, then Adur’s allowances should always be lower than Worthing’s by about 10 per cent/£300.”

The recommendations urge Worthing to move to a “unit-based calculation of allowances in 2011/12, as practised in Adur, e.g., the Adur council leader receives a special responsibility allowance of 1.5 times the basic allowance.

Also recommended is: “Where any member is wholly or partially suspended from their council duties because of a breach of the code of conduct, their allowances be withdrawn pro rata for that period.”

The report says that no member be entitled to join the Local Government Pension Scheme.

It also points out: “The scheme for the payment of members’ allowances should acknowledge that voluntary public service, rather than material reward, should remain the primary motivation for involvement in local government, whilst at the same time, aiming to attract and retain members who are representative of the demographic make-up of the borough.”

The recommendations will be discussed at the next full meetings of Worthing Council (February 15), and Adur’s (February 17).

The remuneration panel comprises Alan Randall, Patricia Woolgar and Martin Phillips.